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Thread: retirement, semi retirement abroad

  1. #1
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    retirement, semi retirement abroad

    starting to look seriously about buying a property and retiring abroad, the pounds strong against the euro and the market is still weak so its never been a better time, anyone done it? ive been looking on rightmove for a property for a while and were off to the 'Place in the Sun' expo at manchester next friday
    Spain or Italy are the favorites at the moment as we like skiing, snowboarding etc i would also consider Hungary, Bulgaria, croatia etc, after talking to a few guy who live there at last weeks Motorhome show, anyone else considering upping sticks to a better climate and motorbike heaven?

  2. #2
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    Could I make an alternative suggestion here............

    I too would love to try and experience some continental living, but due to the age's of our kids the wife will not entertain such an idea. But I do see the attraction and like many am currently disillusioned by UK PLC and nothing on the horizon appears to give hope to any changes I would like to see soon. I would not be naive to think that any of these other destinations are any better of, just a different focus and emphasis on the same issues that are common throughout Westerm Europe. But it would be a new experience and that in itself may be enough to reinvigorate one and being in foreign climes means you probably won't be so involved in their bigger issues, as you won't have the same knowledge and of them or the changes that are occurring by default.

    But coming back to the original post. I would look and think about it long and hard before committing. I am not saying don't do it, as I am jealous of you having the opportunity, but be very analytical about the whole thing! Why do I say this, well from the experiences of several friends and colleagues who have already. But each has done so by selling up in the UK and buying overseas and it is this break from the UK that is haunting them now.

    One sold a very nice place in Lingfield, to move to southern France. Whilst he is still enjoying his transition and still pleased overall with the move he has made, he is not blind to the fact that the property in France has devalued, not by much, but is worth less each month, whilst his UK address has risen substantially. In short if the times comes and he considers a return to the UK he will have to settle for far less back here.

    Another friend who, like you suggest, ventured out there when the rates were good and in his favour, has now decided he does need to come home due to ill health of his wife. Now he had retained a small place the UK so he could see the grandchildren often and was split probably 72/25 between them. His house, which is magnificent and anyone would be proud to own, has devalued beyond belief since his purchase about 10 years ago for a variety of reasons.

    On his most recent trip home to the UK he returned to find his home had been burgled, and then the water pipes deliberately cut and the home ruined. The local authorities were far from sympathetic and he is currently trying to sort the mess out, it has made him very unwell. I have other examples of were people have found that it is not a panacea abroad. But also many who have made the change and really do enjoy it and have the right set up and attitude to make it a success due to their approach. But on balance the experience of the many I know who have has meant my wife is too afraid to risk it.

    If you are thinking of cutting UK ties forever and are prepared to take your chances and go to your grave abroad, then good luck and if you don't look back and have too much contact here, I suspect you will not know any different and it will be what you make it. If like the majority, you can't quite do that and still want to have UK connections and friends then, consider not selling within the UK but rent out your property and then rent abroad. I suggested this to the friends I have mentioned. Abroad they are not so fixated about home ownership as they see a house as a place to live, not as an investment. They do not rely upon the proceeds of their homes to clear their debts or as a retirement plan. For most rent and it is the norm. Whilst letting out your UK home may be a bit of hassle, the income here should easily cover any rental required there and a surplus, probably. If you suddenly need to return you can give notice and do so. Your interest within the UK will have kept pace with things here generally in value terms and it means you keep a wider range of options for yourself in the future.

    Had any of my mates I cited done this - they would have been back here in the UK already and living a similar lifestyle to that they left, they have told me they wished they had used a different route for their overseas adventure. In one case they can only afford to buy a suitable property back in the UK in Lincolnshire, far from where they wanted but it was the best compromise for their circs, they have lost a fortune on Spanish property. One friend's father in law has been so affected by the losses on his Spanish dream he has had to move back in with them aged 68 as his only course of action. Of course if you go to any show where there are sales people they will try and sell you a vision that normally involves them realising a slice of your money in one way or another. It depends on so may things, whether you are retiring properly, going to work there, start a business there etc.

    I put this forward for you to consider in the mix of things you need to have your eyes wide open, others will no doubt have alternative experiences and views - but good luck in any case..........

  3. #3
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    I have a place for sale in central France near Chef Boutonne 79110, price about 85000€.
    Very rural, habitable but needs some work, includes an enormous barn, fantastic for m/c work. I used to have a wood workshop in there.
    Maybe you could afford the best of both worlds?
    Let me know if you're interested.
    J

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    Cousin sold up his business and moved lock stock and barrel over to Cyprus just before it joined the Euro zone and life was cheap, moved back after 6 years as the cost of living tripled, struggled to sell his farmhouse in Cyprus and ended up renting back here.

    Similarly friends sold up and bought a large villa in Tuscany to live the dream and rent out the attached apartments, poor rental the credit crunch etc and they are now back here living in rented houses doing jobs that pay about half of the ones they packed in and still paying a huge mortgage on property in Italy which is making about quarter of the projected income.

    Think long and hard about making the move

  5. #5
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    We bought a second home in France a few years ago and spend about a third of the year there, spread over about 4 separate visits. We love it there and can't wait to get back there each time we are back in the UK.
    We have nice neighbours, a comfortable house and beautiful views. I do a lot of cycling and it's just wonderful there. Great rides whichever direction you take, next to no traffic and, by UK standards, decent road surfaces.

    However, I would not like to live there permanently. French bureaucracy would send me mad and the area we are in just dies in the winter. We leave France round October/November and go back for our first visit of the year usually in March.
    We plan on continuing to keep the house and being in France for a substantial amount of time each year but we are glad we decided not to up sticks and retire there.

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    Bought here in Provence in 2003, 132k euros at the time £98k. Love it, still have the home in England. Recently had the house here valued by three different agencies. Middle price at 350k euros. So not such a bad investment even allowing for the work carried out and the fact that all the family and friends have had over 10 years of holidays. I also do B&B for tossers and they still keep coming back!

    My advice would be rent a place in the region you are looking at in February, if you can cope then the rest of the year is uphill. Do not let your heart rule your head when choosing a property and always offer a minimum of 30% less than any asking price. Do not get off the UK property ladder even if it means renting out your property or downsizing in the uk.

  7. #7
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    I too have a property in France. Bought it in Feb 2003. An empty barn, we've been doing it up ever since and will finish it in maybe two years. Wife and I will both be retired then (we'll be 50 and 49) and will have a good pension with no need to work...which is a good job as work isnt too easy to find in much of rural France (or Italy, Spain etc....there's a reason so many EU migrants come to the UK)
    I'd avoid Spain like the plague for the reasons cited above. I have no knowledge of Italy, Croatia etc etc.
    The grass generally isn't greener UNLESS you really do your homework. Turning up anywhere on a nice May day will no doubt have you thinking 'this is it, brilliant' try it on a wet and windy November or February day...same feelings for the place ?
    A huge thing to consider is the isolation if you don't speak the language. Health care as you get older ? Proximity to shops ? Drs? All stuff to consider as we really do have it good in the UK.
    We're undecided as yet as to whether to sell up in the UK in 4 or 5 yrs but in any case would have it in the back of our minds to be able to rent in the UK using interest from investments after the sale of current UK house (Most johnny foreigners rent, so why not us, moving wherever we fancy after 6/12/24 mths)
    Good luck with what you decide to do

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    My wife and I have recently been looking at rental property on the Costa del Sol as she is hoping to retire this Christmas. We have friends who have been renting there for the last few years. They rent from October to March (approx. 6 months) it's a small 3 bedroomed house that has a garage, they drive over via Plymouth Santander ferry, towing a trailer with two motorcycles on.
    We went to visit them in January and we were impressed with the set up. They still have their house in the UK, they say they don't miss the UK winter, and have decent weather for riding during their stay in Spain, it costs about 600euros a month + electric.
    I have no intention of buying abroad, I love the UK, I just hate the weather over the winter months, and I relish the idea of spending a few months in the sunshine for that period and riding my bike without having to wrap up like I do here. We are hoping to rent an apartment from a friends relative for three months from next January so I'll be looking to fit a tow bar to the car and probably buy one of those 'bikelug' collapsible trailer jobbies.

  9. #9
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    Beware Italian Bureaucracy. Even the Italian office workers sometimes have not got a clue.

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    Very Interested in this thread as we are looking to sell one of my rental properties in the UK to fund a property in the Dordogne area. I am in a lucky situation of started buying property when I was 22 (I am 46 now) , this means we don't have to sell our house in the Uk and will rent it out to pay the mortgage on it, we are also in the lucky situation of the other uk properties paying us an income. My reason for the move is I have run my own construction business for 17 years working mainly in central London , my business partner left 3 years ago leaving me to do both our jobs , the stress is great and my work is never done. We have a 7 year old son who is keen to learn French and my wife would love the space and the property we could buy for £220k

  11. #11
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    This subject is also very close to my thoughts, retiring next month, Mrs retired last year. I like the idea of renting somewhere warmer over the winter, where would you look to find out more details?

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    Having toured Europe fairly extensively I'm actually quite keen to discover more of the UK during the summer months.

    Wintering abroad, on a rental basis, sounds like a plan though.

  13. #13
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    We have been on the Costa del Sol for the last 3 months, motorhome and GSA.
    Weather has been perfect.
    I cannot tell you how good it is to jump on the bike every day with just light clorhing and no wets.
    Its our only transport and i couldnt imagine the need of a car. If i needed 4 wheels i could rent for €10 A day.
    I would prefer Spain over France, Rural France is in Locked up at 9pm the Spainish go out to dinner at 11pm
    The Spanish are super nice.
    Spain is one of the last places in Europe where you can open the taps without checking your mirrors all the time. A real
    Petrol head country.
    Keep a low profile. Motorhome living is good here, campsites are superb.
    I would not live here all Year too hot and hectic in summer + Ire and UK is great in summer.
    Think hard about rural We prefer the buzz and being amonst people.

  14. #14
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    thanks all for taking the time to post with some great advice, we do have relatives living in spain who we regularly visit who would never come back to the uk, im not disillusioned with the uk, in many respects its a great place, i don't know if its a getting old thing but i just feel im missing out and would love to live in a warmer climate to do the things we love doing all year round, i will look into renting for a few months over winter as said by many on this thread or/and getting a really cheap place to restore over a period of a few years, the motorhome living also sounds great and sounds like Patzx10 is having a ball riding all the amazing roads around malaga, very envious

  15. #15
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    Cool

    Wish I'd bought something small in rural France instead of a timeshare in Orlando. The family airfare to the US is always going up as well as the maintenance fees. But, at least ours is on a points system and part of the Holiday Inn group so very flexible.

    I would imagine for every success story in re-planting lives to Europe, at least 2 disasters are also written about.

    Everybody likes the sunshine and dreams of a 2week vacation. I am off to Kuwait for this weekend on the Electra Glide. It is dusty and in the low 40's. When it can get up to 50 at the height of summer, it becomes uncomfortable to ride and not much fun.

    This has been an interesting thread. Carry on with more stories.

  16. #16
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    Make sure you know what your getting into, I love Austria and we seriously thought about selling up and moving there when I retired last year BUT had only been there in the Summer so we had a winter holiday in the same village we go to every year to see what it was like mid winter
    I bloody hated I, fine when it had been snowing and the sun was out but for 5 days it snowed solid , all there was were grey skies, shit loads of snow on the ground and a pain to get anywhere and it left me depressed and desperate to get home.
    I could not have put up with another day and it made out mind up to stay put

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